Fermentation is a technique which dates back to Neolithic age in 7000-6000 BC. Fermentation is a metabolic activity in which sugars are converted to gas or acid by micro organisms like bacteria, fungus etc. Fermentation has a great role in food industry like the bread we eat daily, yogurt, butter, cheese, vine, beer and many other food products are made as a result of fermentation. Fermented food products are good for health as the microbes we intake along the food stick to the walls of small intestines and help in the process of digestion and release products which are good for our body. There is a branch of science dealing with these areas called Probiotics. Probiotic products are available in super markets and they are really good for health.
I strongly believe fermentation was as accidental discovery as people in the ancient times didn’t know about the microbial world around them. Possibly they would have noticed the milk they get from animals like cow, sheep etc get spoil in around 3-4 hours of milking. This is because milk almost considered as a complete food as it got almost all nutrients we need in our body, the bacterias and other micro organisms find it an enriched media for their growth and they grow in milk. The bacterias, fungus and other micro organisms when they feed on the milk they produce acidic byproducts and leads to the spoilage of raw milk. So they tried studying on it and found if the milk is boiled it can be kept further longer as most of the micro organisms are killed. But then they would found the milk getting spoiled again after few more hours. Again they might have noticed if it was kept over night for around 16-20 hours they get a byproduct from milk as curd or yogurt! This because of the Lactobacillus species of bacteria which is found abundant in nature because of fast growing nature than other bacterias feed on the milk and produce Lactic acid as byproduct which ferments the milk over a period of 16-20 hours kept in room temperature causing the milk to be converted to yogurt! Then with further studies and experimentation they would have obtained yogurt with proper sourness and also that if a little of this is added to a fresh batch of boiled milk you repeat the process you get good yogurt. But the problem they faced was if they don’t do this everyday, they will loose the quality of yogurt by making it too sour and cannot be used in an edible manner. Then the whole things had to be all over started again. This similar experience was found in other materials like the bread batter, dough, grape juice and other foods lead to the discovery of new fermented food products.
As said the speciality of fermentation is you don’t have to buy the fermentation culture every time you need. But if a little of the fermented food is kept in proper conditions and is added to the mix, the little amount of fermented food will ferment the batter or dough and you get the fermented food product as the bacteria and fungus in the food we add will ferment the batter or dough and convert the batter or dough to the fermented product. It has to be noted it is not the same bacteria that ferment all kind of batter but using different bacterias will result in different byproducts for example it is not the same Lactobacillus species of bacteria that is used for fermentation of milk to yogurt for fermentation of bread dough or batter but is Yeast a kind of fungus. Therefore different micro organisms gives different byproducts.
To get a good fermented product proper care need to be taken such as the quality of the culture of microorganism you add in the mixture, the amount added, the time kept for fermentation, the temperature at which the culture added, the way the mixture is kept and many other factors. Therefore proper care need to be given to get a good fermented product. If the fermented batter is kept outside for longer time like 3 days the batter will be become too sour that it cannot be used. If a little of this is added to fresh mix the quality of batter be reduced as the sourness caused by the acid production by the organisms will kill the organisms itself and no organisms will be present to produce acid again! Likewise there are many problems to each factors mentioned above.
Fermentation is often mentioned in Bible. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Galatians 5:9 NIV).
Pesach or Passover is an important festival of Jews. Israel was under the slavery of Egypt and they cried out to God. God heard their cry and send Moses as a deliverer. Moses did several miracles as God asked him to perform. But Pharaoh never let the people go. So God asked Moses and all Israelites to kill a lamb put its blood on the crossbars of the doors up and down then roast the lamb and to be eaten with bitter spinach and unleavened bread and also to be ready to go but none shall get off their house as the angel of God was about to pass that night every house in Egypt including Israelites, to whosever house the blood is found on the door the angel will leave them but to those who don’t have blood on the doors the angel of God will get into their house killing the first born in the house. And the angel passed through Egypt that night killing all the first born in every Egyptian houses while Israelites observed this feast the Pesach or Passover. There was no house in Egypt without anyone dead in the Egyptian houses but to Israelites none of them were killed as they obeyed God’s command. That night Pharaoh freed Israelites and they set out from Egypt. God commanded Israelites to celebrate this Pesach or Passover every year.
‘The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present a food offering to the Lord. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’ ” (Leviticus 23:5-8 NIV)
The significance of Passover is the whole incident is a shadow to the future events. For Passover a lamb was killed and the blood was drawn upon the top and bottom crossbars of the doors. when the angel of God passed through Egypt he didn’t enter the houses that had blood stain of lamb on the top and bottom crossbars of the door. This symbolises the salvation through Jesus who was killed as the Pesach Lamb. Jesus was crucified on the Cross of Calvary by giving even the very last drop of blood and water in his body. As the blood of lamb was put on the crossbars of door, to those who accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour and repent and turn away from ways of sin and confess the sins there sins are forgiven. The angel of death won’t come to those (those saved and living holy life according to God have no punishment) as they are brought by the blood of Jesus. The roasting of the lamb shows the terrible sufferings of Jesus. The bitter spinach shows the bitterness of suffering Jesus under went on crucification. The leavening of bread makes it sour. Here leavening is pictured as sin. Therefore those who accept Jesus and remember all the terrible pain Jesus suffered and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour their leavened things of life or their sins of life are forgiven and new life is given as Apostle Paul said- ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)’. The same way all the leavened things in life are gone and it is all new. This shows the significance of unleavened bread without any leavening agent or sourness in it but holiness!
When we come to 1 Corinthians: 5 there we see the same verse mentioned in Galatians 5:9 there. ‘Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?‘ (1 Corinthians 5:6 NIV)
The verse from Ecclesiastics 10 also have the same meaning- ‘As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.’ (Ecclesiastes 10:1 NIV).
I mentioned above if a little of the fermented dough or batter is added to the new batter or dough the fermented dough or batter will ferment the whole batch of the new batter or dough. Similarly a dead fly even though it is tiny but if it falls in the perfume it ruins the whole batch of perfume by not giving aroma but foul smell. What Apostle Paul and King Solomon trying to say is to a born again believer (those who accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour and living a holy life as mentioned above) they are like the unleavened or fresh dough/batter. But if the born again believer fall for some sin we shouldn’t consider ‘oh it’s okay, it’s a small sin, nothing will happen’ we should not ignore it because as the little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough or the dead fly destroys the whole set of perfume the sin that lies inside us which is not confessed to God will work as the yeast inside our heart making our unleavened heart back to leavened heart! Therefore we should be extra careful that we commit no sins but if fallen into sins, repent the sins before God and be unleavened again. Or as how you clean a spot of dirt spotted on your shirt is cleaned using detergents and soap bring yourself to God and ask for redemption of sins and forgiveness.
In Mathew and Luke we see Jesus describing the Kingdom of Heaven to the process of fermentation.
‘He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”’ (Matthew 13:33 NIV)
‘Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”’ (Luke 13:20-21 NIV)
Here Jesus is trying to explain the attributes of Kingdom of Heaven. When yeast is added to the dough it act upon the new set of dough and make it rise twice to trice it’s original size, like this the Gospel of Jesus act as a seed inside people hearts on hearing about Jesus which will grow more and more and fill the whole heart with heavenly peace like the dough rise and fill the vessel. Not only that as the dough will be changed after fermentation the gospel will bring change to the person’s heart! As the verse said ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)’. It converts the heart of the person by making him a new person. It doesn’t stop there but as the raised dough is used to bake bread and other bakery products, Jesus inside the person will use him to satisfy the hunger of many others who haven’t met Jesus and wandering for peace. Like the bread gives satisfaction and strength to the the hungry person, the Gospel of Jesus will satisfy the spiritual hunger of other person and give him strength to face tomorrow. It brings hope to hopeless, light to those in dark and strength to those who are spiritually weak! This brings the kingdom of heaven on earth!
‘Jesus said- ”I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”’ (John 6:48-51 NIV).
Therefore let’s change ourselves by accepting and believing in Jesus in our lives by believing Jesus is the son of God who came to this earth to die for my sins and to fulfil it Jesus died on the Cross of Calvary and all the sufferings and pain that Jesus took on the body was for me and he was broken down and gave his very last drop of blood for me on Cross of Calvary for the redemption of my sins and I accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour in my life, I confess my sins and give my life for Jesus. Please forgive me for every mistakes I made in my life. Please come in me, live in me, fill in me and guide me until the last breath of my life and help me to stay away from evil ways and lead a holy and victorious Christian life as you please. In Jesus name. Amen!
By accepting Jesus by believing in heart and proclaiming by mouth you have become a child of God. All the leavened things of the old batter or dough is completely removed and a new unleavened batter or dough is given in you. Let Jesus reign in us and fill us and let we the new batter or new dough be used to satisfy the spiritual hunger of many those many who perish without knowing Jesus by spreading the gospel of Jesus to others. And let’s get them along with us to the Kingdom of Heaven by leading a holy life of truth, sincerity and leading humble life that which is pleasing to God.
‘Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.‘ (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 NIV)
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV)